In general, the shares of a company may be transferred from shareholders to other parties by sale or other mechanisms, unless prohibited. Most jurisdictions have established laws and regulations governing such transfers, particularly if the issuer is a publicly traded entity.
The desire of stockholders to trade their shares has led to the establishment of stock exchanges, organizations which provide marketplaces for trading shares and other derivatives and financial products. Today, stock traders are usually represented by a stockbroker who buys and sells shares of a wide range of companies on such exchanges. A company may list its shares on an exchange by meeting and maintaining the listing requirements of a particular stock exchange. In the United States, through the intermarket trading system, stocks listed on one exchange can often also be traded on other participating exchanges, including electronic communication networks (ECNs), such as Archipelago or Instinet.
Many large non-U.S companies choose to list on a U.S. exchange as well as an exchange in their home country in order to broaden their investor base. These companies must maintain a block of shares at a bank in the US, typically a certain percentage of their capital. On this basis, the holding bank establishes American depositary shares and issues an American depositary receipt (ADR) for each share a trader acquires. Likewise, many large U.S. companies list their shares at foreign exchanges to raise capital abroad.
Small companies that do not qualify and cannot meet the listing requirements of the major exchanges may be traded over-the-counter (OTC) by an off-exchange mechanism in which trading occurs directly between parties. The major OTC markets in the United States are the electronic quotation systems OTC Bulletin Board (OTCBB) and OTC Markets Group where individual retail investors are also represented by a brokerage firm and the quotation service's requirements for a company to be listed are minimal. Shares of companies in bankruptcy proceeding are usually listed by these quotation services after the stock is delisted from an exchange.
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Famous quotes containing the word trading:
“His farm was grounds, and not a farm at all;
His house among the local sheds and shanties
Rose like a factors at a trading station.”
—Robert Frost (18741963)